FL1: snazzy Mayo reign in Killarney

February 01, 2015

Mayo's Mark Ronaldson and David Moran of Kerry

Goals in either half from Alan Freeman and Kevin McLoughlin helped Mayo to an impressive 2-11 to 0-10 victory over Kerry in Killarney.

A crowd of  8,123 turned out to witness this repeat of last summer's epic All-Ireland semi-final and this time it was the Mayo men - replete with slick new kit- that caught the eye.

The winners outscored their illustrious hosts by 1-6 to 0-1 in the second quarter to turn around with a commanding 1-7 to 0-4 advantage.

Barry John Keane and Evan Regan swapped the first two scores and we then had a hold-up in play while the latter was stretchered from the field after suffering suspected concussion in a heavy collision. When play resumed, Kieran O'Leary and Paul Geaney were on hand to leave the hosts ahead by 0-3 to 0-1 midway through the opening period.

Jason Doherty's free halved the deficit before Alan Freeman cut in along the end line to despatch the ball to the net off his left peg and send the Connacht champions into a two-point lead, 1-2 to 0-3; Mikey Conroy nailed a brilliant score to make it double scores.

Donal Vaughan's point meant that the visitors had struck 1-3 without reply but Keane brought an end to that sequence with a fisted point on the half-hour.  However, the westerners had the bit between their teeth and kicked on before the break with further unanswered scores from Doherty (free) and Conroy (2) to lead by six at the interval.

The Kingdom introduced Tommy Walsh at midfield for the start of the second half but it was Mayo who drew first blood with a fine Seamus O'Shea point before Mikey Geaney and Keane replied for the Sam Maguire holders, 1-8 to 0-6.

A David Moran '45' and a Keane free had Eamon Fitzmaurice's men back within a goal but it was Mayo who plundered their second major of the match as McLoughlin got on the end of a well-worked move and ran through to plant the ball in the top left corner: 2-8 to 0-8 with a quarter of the match remaining.

Conroy's fourth point was cancelled out by a Moran free and Paul Geaney trimmed the gap to leave five between the teams with an hour played. Doherty steadied the winners with another point six minutes from the end.

And substitute Diarmuid O'Connor swung over the last score as Mayo opened their league campaign with a priceless away win.

Mayo - R Hennelly; S Coen, K Keane, K Higgins; L Keegan, C Barrett, P Durcan; S O'Shea (0-1), D Vaughan (0-1); K McLoughlin (1-0), A Gallagher, J Doherty (0-3, 2f); E Regan (0-1), A Freeman (1-0), M Ronaldson. Subs: M Conroy (0-4) for E Regan, D O'Connor (0-1) for A Gallagher, A O'Shea for A Freeman, M Sweeney for M Conroy, C Boyle for C Barrett, E Varley for M Ronaldson, B Moran for S O'Shea.

Kerry - B Kealy; P Kilkenny, M Griffin, F Fitzgerald; J Lyne, J Sherwood, P Murphy; D Moran (0-2, 1f, 1'45), B Sheehan; M Geaney (0-1), K O'Leary (0-1), J Buckley; S O'Brien, P Geaney (0-2), BJ Keane (0-4, 1f). Subs: T Walsh for B Sheehan, P O'Connor for K O'Leary, C Keane for BJ Keane, J McGuire for P Geaney, D Casey for S O'Brien, A Fitzgerald for T Walsh.

Referee - M Deegan.

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